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Monthly Archives: November 2015

Mary Forrest at Munich Re has a unique platform to transform the life insurance industry –

by teaching the consumer the financial  value of each person’s life.

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MARY FORREST

 

Mary Forrest Becomes First Female Executive to lead Canadian Life & Health Insurance Association Board of Directors

 

TORONTO, June 17, 2015 – Mary Forrest, President and CEO of Munich Re North America (Life) has been elected Chair of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA).  In this role, Ms. Forrest becomes the first female executive to lead the national association representing Canada’s life and health insurance sector.  She succeeds outgoing Chair of the Board, Donald Guloien, President and CEO of Manulife.

 

Ms. Forrest oversees the two largest Life reinsurance business units within the Munich Re Group. She is responsible for Munich Re’s Life and Health reinsurance operations in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean.  The North American organization has over 400 employees, located in Canada and the United States.

 

“CLHIA member companies employ 155,000 people who are focused on the financial security of the vast majority of Canadians, and I’m honoured to play a leadership role in such a vital industry,” said Ms. Forrest.  “Under Donald Guloien’s leadership, the CLHIA Board oversaw and advanced many important initiatives for the industry and Canadians, and I look forward to continuing this momentum.”

“Mary has distinguished herself as a committed champion of the life and health insurance industry,” said Frank Swedlove, President and CEO of CLHIA.  “We look forward to her leadership and guidance.”

Prior to being named Chair of the Board of CLHIA, Ms. Forrest was Chair of the Standing Committee on Government Relations, as well as member of the Standing Committee on Resources, the Nominating Committee, and Committee on Reinsurance.

 

Ms. Forrest also contributes globally to the Munich Re Group through her Board leadership; Mary is the past Chairman of the Atlantabased Munich American Reassurance Company Board and a past Director of the Munich Reinsurance Company of Canada and Temple Insurance Company Boards.

 

About Munich Re

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Munich Re stands for exceptional solution-based expertise, consistent risk management, financial stability and client proximity. This is how Munich Re creates value for clients, shareholders and staff. In the financial year 2014, the Group – which combines primary insurance and reinsurance under one roof – achieved a profit of €3.2bn on premium income of over €48bn. It operates in all lines of insurance, with over 43,000 employees throughout the world. With premium income of around €27bn from reinsurance alone, it is one of the world’s leading reinsurers. Especially when clients require solutions for complex risks, Munich Re is a much sought-after risk carrier. Its primary insurance operations are concentrated mainly in the ERGO Insurance Group, one of the leading insurance groups in Germany and Europe. ERGO is represented in over 30 countries worldwide and offers a comprehensive range of insurances, provision products and services. In 2014, ERGO posted premium income of €18bn. In international healthcare business, Munich Re pools its insurance and reinsurance operations, as well as related services, under the Munich Health brand. Munich Re’s global investments amounting to €227bn are managed by MEAG, which also makes its competence available to private and institutional investors outside the Group.

 

Disclaimer

 

This press release contains forward-looking statements that are based on current assumptions and forecasts of the management of Munich Re. Known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the forward-looking statements given here and the actual development, in particular the results, financial situation and performance of our Company. The Company assumes no liability to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

 

SOURCE Munich Re Canada (Life)   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emails show intel analysts were told to ‘cut it out’ and ‘toe the line’ on ISIS reports

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By Rick Moran

AmericanThinker

November 24, 2015

 

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The scandal involving about 50 intelligence analysts for U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) who were pressured to downplay the effectiveness of the Islamic State while it was a growing threat is at critical mass.

The Pentagon’s inspector general has in his possession emails and other documents that prove there was pressure to doctor the analyses of the Islamic State in order to minimize the threat and talk up the White House “narrative” that the military was doing a good job in degrading the abilities of the terrorist group.

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Fox News:

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Fox News is told by a source close to the CENTCOM analysts that the pressure on them included at least two emails saying they needed to “cut it out” and “toe the line.”

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Separately, a former Pentagon official told Fox News there apparently was an attempt to destroy the communications. The Pentagon official said the email warnings were “not well received” by the analysts.

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Those emails, among others, are now in the possession of the Pentagon inspector general. The IG’s probe is expanding into whether intelligence assessments were changed to give a more positive picture of the anti-ISIS campaign.

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The former Pentagon official said there were “multiple assessments” from military intelligence and the CIA regarding the “rapid rise” of ISIS in Iraq and North Africa in the year leading up to the group’s territory grab in 2014.

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Similar intelligence was included in the President’s Daily Brief, or PDB – the intelligence community’s most authoritative product — during the same time period. Yet the official, who was part of the White House discussions, said the administration kept “kicking the can down the road.” The official said there was no discussion of the military involvement needed to make a difference.

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The IG probe started earlier this year amid complaints that information was changed to make ISIS look more degraded than it really was.

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Among the complaints is that after the U.S. air campaign started in August 2014, the metrics to measure progress changed. They were modified to use measures such as the number of sorties and body counts — a metric not used since the Vietnam War — to paint a more positive picture.

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Critics say this “activity-based approach” to tracking the effectiveness of strikes does not paint a comprehensive picture of whether ISIS is being degraded and contained.

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The president is shocked, shocked, I say, that the intel was cooked:

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President Obama, speaking at a press conference in Malaysia over the weekend, said he expects to “get to the bottom” of whether ISIS intelligence reports were altered – and has told his top military officials as much.

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“One of the things I insisted on the day I walked into the Oval Office was that I don’t want intelligence shaded by politics. I don’t want it shaded by the desire to tell a feel-good story,” Obama said Sunday. “I believe that the Department of Defense and all those who head up our intelligence agencies understand that, and that I have made it repeatedly clear to all my top national security advisers that I never want them to hold back, even if the intelligence or their opinions about the intelligence, their analysis or interpretations of the data contradict current policy.”

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The analysts aren’t buying it:

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The president’s call for a thorough investigation was greeted with cynicism by those involved in the 2014 intelligence assessments, since the administration did not act on the earlier raw intelligence that painted a dire picture of developments, especially in Iraq.

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Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former head of the DIA, told Megyn Kelly, “Where the intelligence starts and stops is at the White House.  The president sets the priorities.”

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If pressure came from inside the White House, it would have to have been someone there who could claim he was speaking for the president.  Valerie Jarrett is a likely suspect, but Susan Rice has also invested a lot in the “ISIS is contained” narrative.  What’s clear is that the White House didn’t want its failure to judge the strength of ISIS correctly to become public.

To some extent, all presidents are hostage to politics in the intelligence community, as a few managers look to skew intelligence assessments toward what they think the president wants to hear.  But this scandal is about the White House pressuring intel analysts to give it a flawed product that matches up with what the president has been telling the American people.

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Preserving the narrative at all costs – including the cost of our national security – should eventually force the resignations of a few Obama advisers.

 

 

Obama’s Worldview of Jihadis and Christians?

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By Raymond Ibrahim

   americanthinker

  November 23, 2015

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President Obama recently lashed out against the idea of giving preference to Christian refugees, describing it as “shameful.”  “That’s not American.  That’s not who we are.

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We don’t have religious tests to our compassion,” loftily added the American president.

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Accordingly, the administration is still determined to accept 10,000 more Syrian refugees, almost all of whom will be Muslim, despite the fact that some are ISIS operatives, while many share the ISIS worldview (as explained below).

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Yet right as Obama was grandstanding about “who we are,” statistics were released indicating that “the current [refugee] system overwhelmingly favors Muslim refugees. Of the 2,184 Syrian refugees admitted to the United States so far, only 53 are Christians while 2,098 are Muslim.”

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Aside from the obvious – or, to use Obama’s own word, “shameful” – pro-Muslim, anti-Christian bias evident in these statistics, there are a number of other troubling factors.

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For starters, the overwhelming majority of “refugees” being brought into the United States are not just Muslim, but Sunnis – the one Muslim sect that the Islamic State is not persecuting and displacing.  After all, ISIS – and most Islamic terrorist groups (Boko Haram, al-Qaeda, Al Shabaab, Hamas, et al.) – are all Sunnis.  Even Obama was arguably raised a Sunni.

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In this context, how are Sunnis “refugees”?  Whom are they fleeing?  Considering that the Obama administration defines refugees as people “persecuted by their government,” most of those coming into the U.S. either aided or at least sympathized with the jihad against Assad (even if they revealed their true colors only when the time was right).

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Simply put, some 98% of all refugees belong to the same Islamic sect as ISIS does.  And many of them, unsurprisingly, share the same vision – such as the “refugees” who recently murdered some 120 people in France, or the “refugees” who persecute Christian minorities in European camps and settlements.  (Al Azhar – the Sunni world’s most prestigious university of Islamic law, which co-hosted U.S. President Obama’s 2009 “A New Beginning” speech – was just recently exposed as teaching and legitimizing all the atrocities that ISIS commits.)

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As for those who are being raped, slaughtered, and enslaved based on their non-Sunni religious identity – not by Assad, but by so-called “rebel” forces (aka jihadis) – many of them are being denied refuge in America.

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Thus, although Christians were approximately 10 percent of Syria’s population in 2011, only one percent has been granted refuge in America.  This despite the fact that, from a strictly humanitarian point of view – and humanitarianism (Obama’s “compassion”) is the chief reason being cited in accepting refugees – Christians should receive priority simply because they are the most persecuted group in the Middle East.

At the hands of the Islamic State, which supposedly precipitated the migrant crisis, Christians have been repeatedly forced to renounce Christ or die; they have been enslaved and raped; and they have had more than 400 of their churches desecrated and destroyed.

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ISIS has committed no such atrocities against fellow Sunnis, they who are being accepted into the U.S. in droves.  Nor does Assad enslave, behead, or crucify people based on their religious identity (despite Jeb Bush’s recent, and absurd, assertions).

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Obama should further prioritize Christian refugees simply because his own policies in the Middle East have directly exacerbated their plight.  Christians and other religions minorities did not flee from Bashar Assad’s Syria, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, or Moammar Gaddafi’s Libya.  Their systematic persecution began only after the U.S. interfered in those nations in the name of “democracy,” succeeding only in uncorking the jihadi terrorists whom the dictators had long kept suppressed.

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Incidentally, prioritizing Christian refugees would not merely be an altruistic gesture or the U.S. government’s way of righting its wrongs: rather, it brings many benefits to America’s security.  (Unlike Muslims or even Yazidis, Christians are easily assimilated into Western nations due to the shared Christian heritage, and they bring trustworthy language and cultural skills that are beneficial to the “war on terror.”)

Finally, no one should be shocked by these recent revelations of the Obama administration’s pro-Muslim and anti-Christian policies.  They fit a clear and established pattern of religious bias within his administration.  For example:

. While inviting scores of Muslim representatives, the State Department is in the habit of denying visas to solitary Christian representatives.

When a few persecuted Iraqi Christians crossed the border into the U.S., they were thrown in prison for several months and then sent back to the lion’s den to be enslaved, raped, or murdered.

When the Nigerian government waged a strong offensive against Boko Haram, killing some of its terrorists, Secretary of State John Kerry fumed and called for the “human rights” of the jihadis (who regularly slaughter and rape Christians and burn their churches).  More recently, Kerry “urged Tajikistan not to go overboard in its crackdown on Islam.”

When persecuted Coptic Christians planned on joining Egypt’s anti-Muslim Brotherhood revolution of 2013, the U.S. said no

When persecuted Iraqi and Syrian Christians asked for arms to join the opposition fighting ISIS, D.C. refused.

When the U.N. Security Council held a meeting to discuss the genocide against Christians and other minorities, although “many high level delegations from UN member states addressed the Security Council meeting, some at the Foreign Minister level, the United States failed to send … a high ranking member of the State Department.” .

Most recently, as the White House works on releasing a statement accusing ISIS of committing genocide against religious minorities such as Yazidis – who are named and recognized in the statement – Obama officials are arguing that Christians “do not appear to meet the high bar set out in the genocide treaty” and thus likely will not be mentioned.

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In short, and to use the president’s own words, it is the Obama administration’s own foreign and domestic policies that are “shameful,” that are “not American,” and that do not represent “who we are.”

Yet the question remains: will Americans take notice and do anything about their leader’s policies – which welcome Islamic jihadis while ignoring their victims – or will their indifference continue until they too become victims of the jihad, in a repeat of Paris or worse?

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Even before the new “caliphate” was established, Christians were and continue to be targeted by Muslims – Muslim mobs, Muslim individuals, Muslim regimes, and Muslim terrorists, from Muslim countries of all races (Arab, African, Asian, etc.) – and for the same reason: Christians are infidel number one.  See Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians for hundreds of anecdotes before the rise of ISIS as well as the Muslim doctrines that create such hate and contempt for Christians who are especially deserving of refugee status.

 

 

HOW THE LEFT MISREADS WORLD AFFAIRS

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                                 By James Arlandson

                                   Americanthinker

                                       Nov. 22 2015 .

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It’s an odd thing.

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The right is susceptible to misreading its own country, while the left has a knack for misreading the world around us.

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Here are just five examples that expose the left’s foolishness or willful blindness.

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  • The left says Islam has nothing to do with the Paris attacks and ISIS.

I wish it were not so, but even Shadi Hamid, a Muslim and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, is honest enough to say there is some kind of connection.

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We don’t need to go over the well-trodden footpath of those who have pointed out that Islam itself, in its leader Muhammad, has engendered the violence. Rather, suffice it to link to this long article, where you can research how Islam has innate problems: Jihad and Qital in the Qur’an, Traditions, and Classical Law.

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  • Kerry says ISIS had a certain “legitimacy” or “rationale” behind killing staff at Charlie Hebdo, while the recent Paris attacks seem indiscriminate, without (evil) logic.

 Whichever word is used — legitimacy or rationaleKerry misreads the fact that the Hebdo attacks and the recent attacks in the French capital are of a piece — ISIS is trying to  terrorize the weak West, with the ultimate goal of defeating it and submitting it to Islam; to them, the West is corrupt and does not follow the law of Allah, so it is on the wrong side of history. They will win.

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That’s why it is so important to defeat them militarily. Evidence is that ISIS is a paper tiger (see no. four, below).

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  • Obama says winning is not the goal against ISIS in its territory.

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 He said in his press conference in Turkey on Nov. 15, 2015:

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But what I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning, or whatever other slogans they come up [with]….

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It’s stunning both in its forthrightness and wrongheadedness. Evidently he has in mind a swaggering Texan who fires his two six-shooters in the sky, yelling, “Yeehaw!”

The American left can’t seem to understand world history. So let’s spell it out for them: Sumerians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans… and skipping to more modern times… the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, the British. A nation-state or dominant government arises and imposes order on the world (though the quality varies). Like it or not, that’s just the way the world seems to work, throughout time.

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Now it’s our turn. So it is always a good idea to win wherever we lead.

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  • Obama says we could easily conquer ISIS, but he doesn’t want to occupy a country.

At the same press conference, he says:

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[A large number of troops on the ground] would be a mistake — not because our military could not march into Mosul or Raqqa or Ramadi and temporarily clear out ISIL, but because we would see a repetition of what we’ve seen before, which is, if you do not have local populations that are committed to inclusive governance and who are pushing back against ideological extremes, that they resurface — unless we’re prepared to have a permanent occupation of these countries.

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Yes, Mr. President, we need to defeat ISIS, especially since you believe it is so easy, and occupy the area. Though it may seem counterintuitive to the left, our “occupation” of a self-destructive country (or “caliphate”) that also engages in worldwide destruction benefits the world and even said country, once the evildoers are cleared out.

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Analogy to help Obama and the left figure it out: our troops in the demilitarized zone in the Korean Peninsula and our bases in Japan have held back the dark forces of communism and other fascisms. At that link, South Korea and Japan glow with prosperity, thanks to us, while North Korea sits in darkness, thanks to China and the old Soviet Union.

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  • Obama says there should be no religious test for accepting Syrian refugees.

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He accuses some unnamed Republicans who said we should admit persecuted Christians from the Greater Middle East, but slow down or stop accepting Muslims.

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Again at the Turkey press conference:

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And when I hear folks say that, well, maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims; when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefitted from protection when they were fleeing political persecution — that’s shameful. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.

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However, Andrew McCarthy at NRO and AT, commenting on McCarthy’s article, has already pointed out that the law favors immigrants who are persecuted mainly for their religion. If that doesn’t describe Christians in the Middle East, then nothing does.

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In the bigger picture, I cannot let my personal feelings of compassion dictate national policy. The fact is, to play off the first point, above, Islam has inherent problems, and accepting Muslim refugees from that part of the world at least should make us think twice.

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However, if we’re really going to accept Muslim refugees instead of opening up safe havens in the Middle East, then we should welcome women, children, and their grandparents, but young men need to go through better screening, even if it takes a year, and possibly be rejected.

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Why does the left misread the world?

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The reason, perhaps, that Obama misreads it is that he misreads himself. He refuses to see, for example, that his withdrawal from Iraq, against the advice of generals, left a vacuum that ISIS was too eager to fill. But he stands up at the Turkey press conference, with his tweaked smile, his elevated eyebrows, his precise gestures, as he gazes out over the horizon at no one in particular and preaches to the large number of people at the Turkey press conference how much he knows, delivering a condescending lecture.

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The irony must have been so thick in that press conference room you could have cut it with a dull knife. He doesn’t know that he doesn’t know things — very little self-awareness.

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That’s the psychological explanation for one man.

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Socially, in a certain percentage of humans, the utopian impulse is strong. Plato had it; Thomas More possibly had it. The left around the entire world definitely have it, as they use big government to make the world a better place, in their eyes.

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However, wherever socialists — who make up the majority of utopians — settle and dominate any economy around the world, the economy slows down to a crawl. Their track record on foreign policy is abysmal.

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Next, we have all observed that a certain percentage of humans suffer from self-loathing. In the left’s case, when terrorists attack, they blame the target country. “What did we do? Is it globalization? Imperialism? Did we occupy country-x and make them mad at us?” Somehow it’s always America’s fault, not the terrorist’s or their evil ideology.

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This brings us to the next point. They misread the nature of evil. True to their utopian impulse, they believe humans are innately good. Maybe they believe this precisely because religion teaches the opposite — the left generally are not big fans of religion, except when appearing to be friendly with it helps them stay in power. Their belief in inherent human goodness surely led them, for example, to make a bad deal with Iran, as if the mullahs can be trusted. “Let’s understand them! Let’s reason with them!”

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Whatever the causes of their misreading the world, the sooner we vote them out of office, the safer we will be.

Foreign workers filling talent gaps in Canada’s fast-growing video game industry

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Chad Sapieha

FINANCIAL POST

November 16, 2015

 

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A BOOM IN THE VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY

 

As Canada’s video game industry continues to grow, new research suggests Canadian talent may not be able to keep pace with demand for experienced workers, leading to attractive opportunities here for foreign workers.

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Thirteen per cent of the industry’s work force now comes from abroad, with most foreign hires originating from the United States, United Kingdom and Western Europe.

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According to a new report commissioned by the Entertainment Software Association Canada (ESAC), that trend will likely continue in coming years. ESAC anticipates more than 1,400 senior and intermediate level jobs will be created in technical and creative roles overt the next one to two years.

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The video game sector’s contribution to Canada’s GDP grew to $3 billion in 2015, a 31 per cent increase since 2013, with 472 active studios creating 20,400 full-time jobs — a 24 per cent gain in people directly employed by the industry, which develops such games as the Assassin’s Creed series, the Need for Speed titles, Club Penguin and the FIFA World Cup series.

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Jayson Hilchie, ESAC president and CEO, says the industry’s reliance on out-of-country talent is a potential benefit to Canada.

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“A third of these temporary foreign workers end up becoming permanent Canadian residents,” he said, adding that a further eight per cent go on to become citizens. “So we’re actually creating new Canadians, per se. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a really positive stat.”

 

 

 

EA’s Jade Raymond returns to Montreal to build on Star Wars video game empire

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Damon van der Linde

FINANCIAL POST

November 20, 2015

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DIVERSITY IN THE VIDEO GAMING INDUSTRY

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MONTREAL — Jade Raymond often tells people that making a great video game is a little like writing comedy.

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“You don’t always know — even if you’re Jerry Seinfeld — what jokes are going to be funny until you tell it to an audience,” the Montreal-born developer and producer said.

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“When you’re trying to create something new and different, you don’t always know if it’s going to be fun.”

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After returning to her hometown from Toronto to open up Electronic Art’s new subsidiary, Motive Studios, Raymond is gearing up for her first challenge, which could be described as astronomical: To create a fun, original game based on a franchise beloved by one of the biggest, diverse and finicky fan bases in the world — Star Wars.

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Raymond is building the studio from scratch, just as the franchise’s first movie sequel in 10 years, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, hits theatres next month in a widely anticipated release that has already smashed pre-sales records. To coincide with the debut, EA released a new game, Star Wars:

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Raymond is building the studio from scratch, just as the franchise’s first movie sequel in 10 years, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, hits theatres next month in a widely anticipated release that has already smashed pre-sales records. To coincide with the debut, EA released a new game, Star Wars: Battlefront, this week.

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Though details are few about the new Star Wars title Raymond will produce, expectations are huge. The release date is a closely held secret, but could coincide with one of the two new Star Wars films planned for the next few years.

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“Star Wars is a universe. It’s got so many things you can explore and branch off from”

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Raymond, 40, is just four months deep into setting up Motive Studios. She says most of that time has been spent hiring core staff.

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The new studio will join EA’s existing BioWare subsidiary at its office in downtown Montreal. It’s an open space, decorated with – what else – video game art, including Mass Effect’s space armour-clad Commander Shepard and other characters designed at the studio. The walls where the Motive staff will work are still a little bare, for now.

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In creating the team, Raymond says she has tried to hire talent that not only represents the gender and cultural diversity that exists among gamers, but also different levels of experience and education.

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“This is exactly what I love doing, which is the ability to build a new team. It’s really to find that talent from around the world with different experiences and to bring them together to collaborate,” Raymond said during an interview with the Financial Post after the MIGS15 conference, where she had earlier delivered the comedy comparison to a crowd of developers and enthusiasts.

 

 

          

The Sunni-Shia split at the heart of regional conflict in the middle east explained

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Adrian Humphreys

NATIONAL POST

November 18, 2015

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A schism that first fully registered in the West in 1979 with the Iranian revolution that makes its theology increasingly political.

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It was in another time — more than 1,300 years ago — in a land known as the Islamic State that, after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, a succession crisis divided Muslims; and the widening schism continues to play out today as ISIL carves its bloody notion of a new Islamic State on the same soil these feuds were first fought, lashing out at targets both within the Muslim world and in the West.

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Succession can be a tough adjustment for any group, but is especially emotional when a departing leader of a nascent religion is particularly strong, effective or loved.

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A dispute over how to replace Muhammad as the leader of the Muslim world after his death in 632 — and increasingly after the deaths of subsequent leaders — led to competing iterations of the Islamic faith, diverting followers into two major branches — the Sunni and the Shia.

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While doctrinal distinctions created the schism, evolving geopolitical notions make it an important matter for world attention.

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 Those pushing for selecting successors as caliph of the Islamic State and as the religious authority only from among the family of Muhammad became known as the Shia, from the Arabic for “the followers of Ali,” a reference to Muhammad’s son-in-law, Ali ibn Abi Talib. Those pushing for a selective process based on seeking the most qualified from the wider tribal context became known as the Sunni, from the Arabic for “people of the tradition.”

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“This was really a political dispute, but that political dispute early on over who should lead turned into — over centuries — the beginnings of a theological sectarian split,” said Anver Emon, professor of law and Canada Research Chair in religion, pluralism and the rule of law at the University of Toronto.

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“It is a secession crisis between the two groups, in political terms. But following that, of course, it has had a lot of legacy in terms of religious and legal and ritualistic kinds of distinctions,” said Khalid Mustafa Medani, an associate professor of political science and Islamic studies at Montreal’s McGill University.

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What to outsiders may seem an arcane distinction, within Islam can mean everything.

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Members of the two branches have lived together peacefully and intermarried, but for some, especially the highly politicized, the divide becomes “very heated” and can even lead to calls for excommunication from the Islamic faith, said Medani.

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In the current context of the self-declared Islamic State, that can mean death.

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A study in 2009 by the Pew Research Center says there were more than 1.57 billion Muslims around the world, about 23% of the world’s population. Of those, 10 to 13 percent were Shia and 87-90 percent were Sunni.

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It is largely where those Shia live that has become important. The majority of Shias (between 68 to 80 percent) live in just four countries: Iran, Pakistan, India and Iraq. In many other countries in the Persian Gulf, Shia remain a minority within Sunni dominated states.

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That makes theology increasingly political.

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The schism first fully registered in the West in 1979 with the Iranian revolution.

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The shah, a secular monarch of Iran, was ousted and replaced by an Islamic republic. The revolutionaries seized the American embassy and held its staff hostage.

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That movement was Shia.

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The Iranians funded and trained Hezbollah in the 1980s that embarked on a deadly campaign against Israel with suicide bombings, kidnappings and assassinations.

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The vast majority of followers of both branches lead peaceful lives — and neither has a monopoly on militancy or moderation. The Iranian revolution and Hezbollah, however, set a popular notion in the West of Shia being the dangerous iteration.

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It was a view embraced by many Sunni elites.

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“It served the Gulf countries, like Bahrain, like Saudi Arabia, like Kuwait, to strongly associate Shiaism with revolution and thereby raise concerns about their own domestic Shia population,” said Emon. Casting Shiites as heretics aided that domestic need.

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Some Sunni leaders also exported their own, competing, brand of the narrative.

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It makes the Shia-Sunni split terribly important when the major backers of each branch are dominating influences in the same, sensitive region: Iran and Saudi Arabia.

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“To understand the geopolitical rivalries of a country like Iran versus Saudi Arabia is an important way to understand why people are so mobilized,” said Medani, “It is very important to really centre this increasing animosity between Shia and Sunni based on the role of these leaders and the states.”

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The Western notion of Shia being the dangerous iteration shifted through fundamentalist Sunni groups such as the Taliban, al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also referred to as ISIS).

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For a while, exploiting the Sunni-Shia split served the interests of nations controlled by either branch.

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But instability rarely helps heal divides.

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“For a country like Saudi Arabia, through its exportation of its own Islamist ideology, they’re responsible for the underlying ideology that informs al Qaeda and ISIS”

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In Iraq, for instance, a Sunni minority under Saddam Hussein ruled over a Shia majority. The overthrow of Hussein left people looking to reclaim a lost position and neighbours anxiously eyeing the change.

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“For a country like Saudi Arabia, through its exportation of its own Islamist ideology,” said Emon, “they’re responsible for the underlying ideology that informs al Qaeda and ISIS.”

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But then ISIL changed the rules.

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In 2014, after taking control of territory in the Sunni heartland of Iraq, ISIL proclaimed itself a caliphate, calling other states illegitimate and placing itself as the exclusive authority over the Islamic world, as if the world was the same as it was 1,300 years ago.

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ISIL targets Shia Muslims as well as the West as it imposes its strict interpretations within territory it controls.

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“ISIS is simply coming home to roost,” said Emon.

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The benefactor of viewing ISIL’s brutal campaign as part of the ancient legacy of Islam, however, is ISIL itself.

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ISIL wants to convince everyone the struggle is one epic clash of civilizations between the West and the Islamic World — with themselves as the representative of the world’s Muslims and as their religious authority — their caliph, the scholars said.

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“That is the greatest lie that can lead to the greatest conflict,” said Medani.

 

 

                 

CONRAD BLACK:

FRANCE MUST LEAD THE WAY IN DESTROYING ISIL

Conrad Black

NATIONAL POST

Nov 17 12:17 PM ET
|

.

There are a few comparatively bright spots in the otherwise unspeakable horror of the terrorist outrages in Paris. As I wrote here after the Charlie Hebdo and Jewish supermarket murders in January, the French know better than any other democracy how to deal with monstrous assaults on civilization of this kind. Their security prevented the entry of suicide bombers at the premier stadium of France, where the terrorists had clearly hoped to kill and wound thousands of spectators, preferably including the president of France, while on television as all Europe watched a France-Germany soccer game.

.

President François Hollande, the least impressive and least successful of the six successors to General Charles de Gaulle as president of the Fifth Republic, effortlessly assumed the dignity, eloquence, and inflection of the holder of his great office in these moments of the utmost extremity. Calm, unflinching, in spare, improvised, and perfect fluency, as if his words had been composed by Camus, or by a French Orwell, he described the terrorist incidents, still unfolding, as “an act of war,” and declared a state of emergency, closed France’s borders, effectively declared martial law in Paris — a metropolitan area of approximately 13 million, and a city that has been for four centuries one of the greatest, most beautiful, civilized, admired, and beloved urban sites in the world.

.

There was not the slightest hesitation — as there has been in some English – language media, in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada — to describe the incident as Islamist terrorism, nor did the French authorities dither with pious insipidity before detaining and interrogating all the families and relatives of the prime suspects, while deploying their air force to plaster the guilty Islamic State of Iraq & the Levant in its lair in Syria.

 

.

Paris and the Paris police know all about violence. There was never in France going to be any ghastly waffling and snivelling about the causes of the discontent of the terrorists. Of the 10 cardinal-archbishops of Paris between 1781 and 1871, two fled for their lives, four were executed or murdered, and four died naturally in their cardinalitial palaces and were mourned with suitable formality in Nôtre Dame. The Paris mobs overthrew regimes in Paris seven times between 1791 and 1871, and were suppressed many times during the first four republics, two empires, and the last three monarchical dynasties, including a restoration, and without counting the general disorder around the Liberation of 1944, during which the Gaullist victors executed rough justice among their Communist and Nazi-collaborationist enemies. The Paris mobs even erected barricades and hurled paving stones at the police in 1962 and 1968.

.

Paris has seen it all before. As Gen. de Gaulle famously said to the International Red Cross when it remonstrated with him about the severity of French techniques in the Algerian War, “Blood dries quickly.”

.

It does in France, but the French, as a people, know, as the major Western democracy with the largest Muslim population and the greatest experience with Islamic countries and with trying to govern them directly and not through suborned satraps as the British generally did, that blood spilled by this form of atrocity can dry only when it is avenged, as the gentle socialist François Hollande, transformed by the affront and by his office, said, “pitilessly.” France knows when liberty, equality, and fraternity, like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — which President Barack Obama invoked in his predictably platitudinous, though sympathetic, comments — must give way to savage and counter-terrifying violence. The emergency Hollande has declared in France has already produced a good deal of information about the perpetrators, which presumably induced ISIL to claim the authorship of the crimes, as it was about to be outed anyway.

.

France will lead the world in the following wholesome understanding: A substantial part of the fundamental texts of Islam is violently hostile to non-Muslims, and to many categories of pallid Muslims also. ISIL is Islamic terrorism, and has no mitigating qualities. It is both evil and incapable and undesiring of co-existence with the West and its values, Judeo-Christian in origin, but of equal application to religious skeptics. It is also irreconcilable with regimes of other kinds, such as India, China, North Korea, and many of the quasi-tribal African countries, but they will eventually figure that out for themselves. Fortunately, France is a powerful enough country to force the world forward in what must be a war of extermination against ISIL; it would galvanize the world, including most of the Muslim world, cowering in equivocations, and could achieve the end of this phase of the struggle with terrorism.

.

There was never in France going to be any ghastly waffling and snivelling about the causes of the discontent of the terrorists

 

.

The ghastly, unutterably contemptible quavering about ISIL must end: It is an unmitigated evil with almost no support — perhaps 50,000 active warriors in all Islam, and the usual riff-raff of useful idiots scattered about different countries prepared to become human torpedoes against all forms of civilization, starting with Muslim civilization, such as it now is. ISIL must be physically exterminated, let us be clear, in a just and virtuous act of war: Anyone who favours, and becomes an armed agent to carry out, acts of indiscriminate terror, the slaughter of innocents (such as the attractive young couples and decent people at the restaurants and concert hall in Paris on Friday), unless they believably repent, must be exterminated, and this monstrous moral, theological, and political heresy of an ISIL caliphate must be crushed into non-existence by the application of whatever level of military force and punitive retribution is required.

.

The next CNN or MSNBC commentators who inflict upon viewers excessive conditionality about the unambiguous wickedness of this enemy should be relieved of their misspeaking tongues with red-hot tongs, but not on a cellphone camera for the delectation of the devotees of the antics of ISIL. For my part, I have given up hope that Obama or U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is capable of doing anything except dissembling and bloviating, and swinging in the wind as issues absolutely vital to the values of our civilization are determined by, in Bismarck’s phrase, “blood and iron,” in fierce exchanges of fire. Obama and Kerry will be oblivious and fatuously placatory as deadly projectiles ricochet around them. It has become a Buster Keaton film. If Hollande asked Obama for assistance, the U.S. president — who, on television the morning of the Paris massacres, announced the “containment” of ISIL, as if it were a state with borders — would send 20 veterans of the Peace Corps to advise the Paris police on how to deal with grumpy people of another pigmentation.

Just as France must be seen in a historic context to show what a terrible mistake ISIL has made in targeting it, U.S. national security policy must be seen as it has evolved. Franklin D. Roosevelt was a well-travelled and multilingual man and knew that the United States had to be engaged in Western Europe and the Far East to prevent mortal threats from reaching American shores. In January 1941, he warned the nation against those who would, “with sounding brass and tinkling cymbal, preach the ‘ism’ of appeasement.” In his war message of December of that year, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, he promised that, after winning the war just unleashed, “we will make very certain that this form of treachery never again endangers us.”

.

The United States eschewed appeasement and deterred direct aggression for 50 years. America’s enemies struck upon a method of evading Roosevelt’s defences, by launching terrorist attacks from organizations not obviously linked to any government and nurtured in failed states where the ostensible government was not apparently involved. Unfortunately, after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, George W. Bush took it as his mission to establish responsible government in places where it had not existed before, rather than merely punishing the authors of crimes against America and humanity.

Roosevelt’s advice was followed until Obama determined that appeasement was a useful antidote to past American wrongdoing against Iran, Cuba, and the Palestinians, and, very tentatively, at least certain varieties of Muslim terrorists. Administrations between Roosevelt and Obama saw that the whole non-Communist world had to be enlisted to prevent the triumph of totalitarian Communism directed, initially, from Moscow. Soviet — Chinese divisions were very intelligently and prudently exploited by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, and Ronald Reagan ultimately exposed, in very pacific terms, the inadequacies of the Soviet system, which fell like a soufflé before him.

The pursuit of U.S. foreign policy since — from George H. W. Bush’s intelligent but largely unformed New World Order, to Bill Clinton’s ad hocery (fairly agile, except for his feeble under-response to the first terrorist attacks), to George W. Bush’s trigger-happy and unwise desire to turn Iraq into the state of Connecticut, to the incumbent’s mad effort to apologize for the American national interest and befriend America’s mortal enemies — has descended ever more swiftly to the present depths, in which Obama naturally expresses regret that innocent Parisians have been murdered in large numbers, but, apart from invoking Lafayette and normal human sympathy, evinces not the slightest notion of what to do about what his own paralytic moral enfeeblement and over-hasty departure from Iraq have encouraged.

 

.

One thing that should not happen is that the door be slammed even more severely on the masses of poor refugees who are fleeing precisely the terror that has just afflicted the magnificent boulevards of Paris. The Syrian refugees, especially the very large proportion of them who are Christians, are unlikely to be jihadists, and it ill behooves this country, which, with the best of intentions, smashed up much of the Middle East, to accept only a numerically contemptible token of the refugees of its ill-considered policy there. It is unlikely that Hollande has quite the panache to do it, but if he announced the insertion of the core of trained French soldiers in a proposed boots-on-the-ground force of 50,000 (i.e., 1,000 times more than the sub-tokenistic addition Obama triumphantly announced a couple of weeks ago), to exterminate ISIL — to kill every member, or every reasonably suspected active and able-bodied member — all serious countries would join.

.

This expedition should be followed by a Turkey-Egypt-Iran-Saudi Arabia Conference, under the co-sponsorship of the traditional great powers, to divide Syria and Iraq between them and ensure an autonomous Kurdish state; to put an end to Iranian meddling in Lebanon and Gaza; to recognize a Palestinian state with realistic borders and a right of return to Palestine and not Israel; and to declare a protocol for identification of the criteria of a failed state and for the obligation of international intervention in such states. Fellow Group of 20 members should also warn Turkey it will be expelled from the group and from NATO if it furnishes so much as one more handgun in assistance to ISIL.

.

Great things could come from this horrible tragedy in Paris, but only with leadership. No sane person could expect such a response from the incumbents in Washington, but it may not be too late for Paris (especially given that this is the only possible road to re-election for François Hollande).

 

  

THE CLINTON FOUNDATION

.

A LEGACY

.

BYLINE

.

Ken Silverstein

.

Washington, DC

.

26 Oct. 2015

.

Clinton Foundation time bomb may explode on November 16

.

By Thomas Lifson

AmericanThinker

26 Oct. 2015

.

.

The Clinton Foundation has until November 16 to amend more than ten years’ worth of state, federal and foreign filings, but it’s going to be virtually impossible to do so without acknowledging that it has engaged in massive accounting fraud since its inception

 

.

The Clinton Foundation has gotten a good deal of unflattering attention as of late, which isn’t surprising given that its best known namesakes are Bill, a former president and chronic philanderer, and Hillary, who hopes to be the nation’s next leader. Furthermore, the foundation portrays itself as do-gooder nonprofit organization but a cursory look reveals questionable and incomplete disclosures of its activities and accounts, as well as incredible misspending of donor money, virtually since its inception.

.

Naturally, this can’t be stated in polite society. For example, the New York Times just had a story on the Clinton Foundation that found highly questionable conduct but buried it under the bland headline, “Rwanda Aid Shows Reach and Limits of Clinton Foundation.” Other stories have mentioned that the foundation has partnered with assorted dictators and robber barons. Among the latter is Canadian “mining magnate” (read: “penny stock artist”) Frank Giustra, who donated millions to the foundation after Bill Clinton helped him land a mining concession for him in Kazakhstan.

.

However, the problems appear set to catch up with the foundation (now formally known as the Bill, Hillary, & Chelsea Clinton Foundation), which has until November 16 to amend more than ten years’ worth of state, federal and foreign filings. According to Charles Ortel, a financial whistleblower, it will be difficult if not impossible for the foundation to amend its financial returns without acknowledging accounting fraud and admitting that it generated substantial private gain for directors, insiders and Clinton cronies, all of which is against the law under an IRS rule called inurement.

.

While inurement may sound obscure to the layman, it’s an ancient legal principle and the IRS is very clear that it is verboten. If you are familiar with it, it becomes immediately clear that Bill Clinton – and arguably Hillary and daughter Chelsea as family members and fellow Clinton Foundation trustees – could have big problems come November 16. So, too, could Clinton cronies like Ira Magaziner (see below) and Doug Band, a Clinton administration and former Foundation insider who subsequently became a founding partner of a bipartisan business swamp called Teneo Holdings.

.

In terms of Bill Clinton, consider that he received a $6.3 million to write his 2007 book “Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World,” about his philanthropic activities and he made countless dollars more to give speeches on the topic. Not a bad deal, though admittedly that’s probably a bit less than the roughly $128 million the Clinton Foundation says it spent on all program services between 2001 and 2006, which includes its spending to provide relief to victims of the Tsunami in Asia and of Hurricane Katrina. The same pattern of taking in vast sums from donors and spending far less to help victims has continued ever since.

.

“It’s illegal to set up a foundation whose primary purpose is to create financial gain,” said Ortel – who helped expose massive financial fraud by GE, GM and AIG, thereby helping trigger the 2009 financial collapse. “That’s bright line illegal.” (Ortel wrote an article at Breitbart.com earlier which showed how “associates of Bill and Hillary Clinton may have attempted to monetize their participation in Clinton family philanthropic activities.”)

.

Ortel, a former managing director of Dillon, Read & Co, said that under New York law tax authorities don’t have to show criminal intent to get convictions against foundation officials, they need only show that the foundation filed materially misleading financial information and kept fundraising nonetheless. “The essence of what a charity does is take your money and show you how they spend it,” he told me. “The Clinton Foundation takes your money and obscures how they spend it.” (Note that the Clinton Foundation only started disclosing its donors in 2008, in response to years of pressure.)

.

Foundation spokesman Craig Minassian did not reply to repeated requests for comment for this story.

.

Ortel is hardly alone in raising questions about the Clinton Foundation’s accounting practices. Earlier this year, the watchdog group Charity Navigator put the Clinton Foundation on its “watch list” of dubious non-profit groups and politely described its business practices as “atypical.” A New York Post story about the development noted that in 2013 the family’s foundation “took in more than $140 million in grants and pledges in…but spent just $9 million on direct aid.”

.

Charity Navigator is described by the Chronicle of Philanthropy as the country’s “most prominent” nonprofit watchdog and “ranks more than 8,000 charities and is known for its independence,” New York magazine reported at the same time. That story noted that Charity Navigator’s new ranking of the Clinton Foundation placed grouped it together with other “scandal-plagued charities like Al Sharpton’s National Action Network and the Red Cross.”

.

Detailed information provided to me by Ortel – and which I carefully reviewed and confirmed — shows that the Clinton Foundation has received more than $1 billion over the years to purchase HIV/AIDS drugs for poor people in Africa, Asia and elsewhere. The leading donors to the foundation to support this admirable goal include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UNITAID.

.

However, a unit set up to receive the money – the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative Inc., which was run by Ira Magaziner, a Clinton administration veteran with close ties to Hillary – clearly spent far, far less than it took in. In fact, the unit’s accounting methods and operating practices were so shoddy that its license was revoked by the state of Massachusetts, where it was headquartered.

.

Furthermore, the accounting firm that handled much of the paperwork, BKD, has been implicated in a variety of misconduct. For example, last year the Securities and Exchange Commission sanctioned BKD for “violating auditor independence rules when they prepared the financial statements of brokerage firms that were their audit clients,” according to this story.

.

(As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, BKD was replaced as the foundation’s accountant by – no, I’m not making this up – PricewaterhouseCoopers, whose previous clients included Enron. That firm’s CEO, Kenneth Lay, died of a heart attack before he was shipped off to prison after engineering one of the biggest financial frauds in American history, with the help of accounting firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers.)

.

Ortel has issued two little-read reports that strongly suggest that the New York-headquartered Clinton Foundation has violated federal and state laws that bar charities from enriching board members, officers or donors. “The Clinton Foundation is like a Turkish bazaar,” Ortel told me. “You think you’re going into a carpet shop but you’re really going into the back of a truck.” (Ortel says he is politically closer to the GOP than to the Democrats, but says he mostly hates “crony capitalism” as practiced by both parties.)

.

Last April, Clinton Foundation acting CEO Maura Pally acknowledged “mistakes” in its tax filings and promised they would be corrected by November 16.

.

The problem, Ortel says, is that filing correct returns is impossible for the Clinton Foundation without admitting to criminal felonies. “The foundation has never filed a legitimate, independently certified and complete audit of their financial statements since it was founded, as is required under state, federal and foreign law” he told me during one of multiple phone conversations. “The IRS has let them get away with serious fraud.”

.

In 2001, Bill helped set up the Clinton Foundation within weeks of leaving office – after surrendering his law licenses in January for lying under oath during the Monica Lewinsky investigation. That’s not much of a qualification to help run a foundation since those in charge of charities are legally bound to always make truthful declarations.

.

Bill clearly was in position to exercise significant influence over the foundation and referred to it publicly as “his” charity on numerous occasions. And even though he was not an officer or director of the main foundation until 2013 he had from the very beginning signed legal agreements on the foundation’s behalf and traveled the globe bragging about its alleged good deeds.

.

Hillary and daughter Chelsea, who has accomplished little of note in her life but was made a foundation Vice Chair, basked in the glory. Note here that as board members and trustees, Bill, Hillary (from 2013 to early 2015) and Chelsea are legally accountable for any foundation misconduct.

.

From a branding standpoint, it’s been pure gold for the Clintons.

.

Anyway, the Clinton Foundation has quite apparently misspent billions of dollars intended for people in Haiti – a Bush family foundation played a cameo role here, by the way — the most destitute in the Western Hemisphere. But, and it’s admittedly hard to measure this level of toxicity, the Foundation has perhaps outdone even this with its AIDS program.

.

The Clinton Foundation was initially authorized by the IRS to act as a library and research center about Bill Clinton’s presidency. It expanded its purposes and began raising billions of dollars without asking the IRS for permission to do so. That’s illegal.

.

According to the Clinton Foundation’s website, it started its efforts in the HIV/AIDS arena with the “transformational goal” of helping “save the lives of millions of people living with HIV/AIDS in the developing world by dramatically scaling up antiretroviral treatment.”

,

The Foundation geared up to make HIV/AIDS drug purchases beginning in 2002. Its activities were omitted and hidden in its 2002 and 2003 tax filings, presumably because it was not legally allowed to engage in such activities at the time.

.

Incidentally, the Clinton Foundation’s website says it is committed to transparency, but the organization omits much key information from its website, including audits for 2001-2004. Its application to form the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative Inc. and the IRS determination letter for that entity are also omitted.

.

Since the early-2000s, the Clinton Foundation has taken in at least $1 billion in donations to fight AIDS — from groups like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and UNITAID, as well as governments including, Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Sweden and the United Kingdom – Ortel estimates.

.

The Clinton Foundation’s tax forms are so opaque and convoluted that there’s no way to know for sure; Ortel bases this number on his review of statements and filings from foundations and governments that have donated to the Clinton’s charity.

.

Meanwhile, the Clinton Foundation set up a related non-profit — the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative, Inc. — to take in cash for its anti-AIDS initiatives. It was an Arkansas non-profit corporation based in Massachusetts and Magaziner – a chief healthcare policy advisor under President Clinton – got paid an undisclosed amount of money to run it out of the offices of his private consulting firm. (Incidentally, it was also illegal for Magaziner to run an ostensibly non-profit entity out of his private, for-profit consulting firm.) In addition to the U.S., the Clinton Foundation set up anti-AIDS entities offshore in at least a score of other countries.

.

(The Clinton Foundation has reportedly failed to disclose transactions and deals with insiders, which is illegal. One example is that Magaziner started providing consulting services to the Foundation in 2012, but that was not disclosed until 2013, in a revised filing. That revision did not make it retroactively legal.)

.

Getting back to the question for money, and to make a long story short, there’s no way of knowing how much the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative Inc. spent to buy HIV/AIDS drugs because its accounting procedures were so inadequate, but it was a whole lot less than what it took in.

.

Simply compare what UNITAID donated to the Clinton Foundation between 2006 and 2009 (see last page at this link), and contrast it with the amount that the foundation claims it spent for all anti-AIDS drug purchases and you will discover numbers that that are difficult to reconcile with the law or common sense or simple human decency. To be fairly precise, UNITAID alone reported donations to the Clinton Foundation of about $341.5 million during that period while the Clinton Foundation claims it spent about $215.4 million.

.

The fact that that UNITAID apparently donated about $126 million more to the Clinton Foundation for ant-AIDS pharmaceuticals than the Clinton Foundation spent on them is alarming enough. And based on this analysis by Judicial Watch, that understates the magnitude of the problem dramatically.

.

When asked for comment, Andrew Hurst, a spokesman for UNITAID said the group was “satisfied” that its disbursements to the Clinton Foundation “have always been fully reconciled and expenditures made in line with grant agreements. Consistent with standard policy, UNITAID commissions independent assessments, audits and programmatic reviews of its grants.”

.

When Massachusetts shut down the HIV/AIDS Initiative unit, the Clinton Foundation simply folded its operations into its own and pretended nothing had happened. All of this was flatly illegal, but the IRS, whose tax-exempt wing was led during most of the relevant period by Lois Lerner, did zero. Obama’s Justice Department investigated Lerner on unrelated charges, but never filed charges.

.

The general shadiness of the whole Clinton Foundations AIDS initiative may well explain why Sir Elton John turned down without explanation an award for fighting AIDS from Bill Clinton during the recent Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York.

.

“Using a charity that exploits victims of AIDS for your personal gain and advancement puts you in the lower circles of hell, but New York and the IRS haven’t done anything to stop them,” Ortel said.

 

The Clinton Foundation has until November 16 to amend more than ten years’ worth of state, federal and foreign filings, but it’s going to be virtually impossible to do so without acknowledging that it has engaged in massive accounting fraud since its inception

 

.

The Clinton Foundation has gotten a good deal of unflattering attention as of late, which isn’t surprising given that its best known namesakes are Bill, a former president and chronic philanderer, and Hillary, who hopes to be the nation’s next leader. Furthermore, the foundation portrays itself as do-gooder nonprofit organization but a cursory look reveals questionable and incomplete disclosures of its activities and accounts, as well as incredible misspending of donor money, virtually since its inception.

.

Naturally, this can’t be stated in polite society. For example, the New York Times just had a story on the Clinton Foundation that found highly questionable conduct but buried it under the bland headline, “Rwanda Aid Shows Reach and Limits of Clinton Foundation.” Other stories have mentioned that the foundation has partnered with assorted dictators and robber barons. Among the latter is Canadian “mining magnate” (read: “penny stock artist”) Frank Giustra, who donated millions to the foundation after Bill Clinton helped him land a mining concession for him in Kazakhstan.

.

However, the problems appear set to catch up with the foundation (now formally known as the Bill, Hillary, & Chelsea Clinton Foundation), which has until November 16 to amend more than ten years’ worth of state, federal and foreign filings. According to Charles Ortel, a financial whistleblower, it will be difficult if not impossible for the foundation to amend its financial returns without acknowledging accounting fraud and admitting that it generated substantial private gain for directors, insiders and Clinton cronies, all of which is against the law under an IRS rule called inurement.

.

While inurement may sound obscure to the layman, it’s an ancient legal principle and the IRS is very clear that it is verboten. If you are familiar with it, it becomes immediately clear that Bill Clinton – and arguably Hillary and daughter Chelsea as family members and fellow Clinton Foundation trustees – could have big problems come November 16. So, too, could Clinton cronies like Ira Magaziner (see below) and Doug Band, a Clinton administration and former Foundation insider who subsequently became a founding partner of a bipartisan business swamp called Teneo Holdings.

.

In terms of Bill Clinton, consider that he received a $6.3 million to write his 2007 book “Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World,” about his philanthropic activities and he made countless dollars more to give speeches on the topic. Not a bad deal, though admittedly that’s probably a bit less than the roughly $128 million the Clinton Foundation says it spent on all program services between 2001 and 2006, which includes its spending to provide relief to victims of the Tsunami in Asia and of Hurricane Katrina. The same pattern of taking in vast sums from donors and spending far less to help victims has continued ever since.

.

“It’s illegal to set up a foundation whose primary purpose is to create financial gain,” said Ortel – who helped expose massive financial fraud by GE, GM and AIG, thereby helping trigger the 2009 financial collapse. “That’s bright line illegal.” (Ortel wrote an article at Breitbart.com earlier which showed how “associates of Bill and Hillary Clinton may have attempted to monetize their participation in Clinton family philanthropic activities.”)

.

Ortel, a former managing director of Dillon, Read & Co, said that under New York law tax authorities don’t have to show criminal intent to get convictions against foundation officials, they need only show that the foundation filed materially misleading financial information and kept fundraising nonetheless. “The essence of what a charity does is take your money and show you how they spend it,” he told me. “The Clinton Foundation takes your money and obscures how they spend it.” (Note that the Clinton Foundation only started disclosing its donors in 2008, in response to years of pressure.)

.

Foundation spokesman Craig Minassian did not reply to repeated requests for comment for this story.

.

Ortel is hardly alone in raising questions about the Clinton Foundation’s accounting practices. Earlier this year, the watchdog group Charity Navigator put the Clinton Foundation on its “watch list” of dubious non-profit groups and politely described its business practices as “atypical.” A New York Post story about the development noted that in 2013 the family’s foundation “took in more than $140 million in grants and pledges in…but spent just $9 million on direct aid.”

.

Charity Navigator is described by the Chronicle of Philanthropy as the country’s “most prominent” nonprofit watchdog and “ranks more than 8,000 charities and is known for its independence,” New York magazine reported at the same time. That story noted that Charity Navigator’s new ranking of the Clinton Foundation placed grouped it together with other “scandal-plagued charities like Al Sharpton’s National Action Network and the Red Cross.”

.

Detailed information provided to me by Ortel – and which I carefully reviewed and confirmed — shows that the Clinton Foundation has received more than $1 billion over the years to purchase HIV/AIDS drugs for poor people in Africa, Asia and elsewhere. The leading donors to the foundation to support this admirable goal include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UNITAID.

.

However, a unit set up to receive the money – the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative Inc., which was run by Ira Magaziner, a Clinton administration veteran with close ties to Hillary – clearly spent far, far less than it took in. In fact, the unit’s accounting methods and operating practices were so shoddy that its license was revoked by the state of Massachusetts, where it was headquartered.

.

Furthermore, the accounting firm that handled much of the paperwork, BKD, has been implicated in a variety of misconduct. For example, last year the Securities and Exchange Commission sanctioned BKD for “violating auditor independence rules when they prepared the financial statements of brokerage firms that were their audit clients,” according to this story.

.

(As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, BKD was replaced as the foundation’s accountant by – no, I’m not making this up – PricewaterhouseCoopers, whose previous clients included Enron. That firm’s CEO, Kenneth Lay, died of a heart attack before he was shipped off to prison after engineering one of the biggest financial frauds in American history, with the help of accounting firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers.)

.

Ortel has issued two little-read reports that strongly suggest that the New York-headquartered Clinton Foundation has violated federal and state laws that bar charities from enriching board members, officers or donors. “The Clinton Foundation is like a Turkish bazaar,” Ortel told me. “You think you’re going into a carpet shop but you’re really going into the back of a truck.” (Ortel says he is politically closer to the GOP than to the Democrats, but says he mostly hates “crony capitalism” as practiced by both parties.)

.

Last April, Clinton Foundation acting CEO Maura Pally acknowledged “mistakes” in its tax filings and promised they would be corrected by November 16.

.

The problem, Ortel says, is that filing correct returns is impossible for the Clinton Foundation without admitting to criminal felonies. “The foundation has never filed a legitimate, independently certified and complete audit of their financial statements since it was founded, as is required under state, federal and foreign law” he told me during one of multiple phone conversations. “The IRS has let them get away with serious fraud.”

.

In 2001, Bill helped set up the Clinton Foundation within weeks of leaving office – after surrendering his law licenses in January for lying under oath during the Monica Lewinsky investigation. That’s not much of a qualification to help run a foundation since those in charge of charities are legally bound to always make truthful declarations.

.

Bill clearly was in position to exercise significant influence over the foundation and referred to it publicly as “his” charity on numerous occasions. And even though he was not an officer or director of the main foundation until 2013 he had from the very beginning signed legal agreements on the foundation’s behalf and traveled the globe bragging about its alleged good deeds.

.

Hillary and daughter Chelsea, who has accomplished little of note in her life but was made a foundation Vice Chair, basked in the glory. Note here that as board members and trustees, Bill, Hillary (from 2013 to early 2015) and Chelsea are legally accountable for any foundation misconduct.

.

From a branding standpoint, it’s been pure gold for the Clintons.

.

Anyway, the Clinton Foundation has quite apparently misspent billions of dollars intended for people in Haiti – a Bush family foundation played a cameo role here, by the way — the most destitute in the Western Hemisphere. But, and it’s admittedly hard to measure this level of toxicity, the Foundation has perhaps outdone even this with its AIDS program.

.

The Clinton Foundation was initially authorized by the IRS to act as a library and research center about Bill Clinton’s presidency. It expanded its purposes and began raising billions of dollars without asking the IRS for permission to do so. That’s illegal.

.

According to the Clinton Foundation’s website, it started its efforts in the HIV/AIDS arena with the “transformational goal” of helping “save the lives of millions of people living with HIV/AIDS in the developing world by dramatically scaling up antiretroviral treatment.”

,

The Foundation geared up to make HIV/AIDS drug purchases beginning in 2002. Its activities were omitted and hidden in its 2002 and 2003 tax filings, presumably because it was not legally allowed to engage in such activities at the time.

.

Incidentally, the Clinton Foundation’s website says it is committed to transparency, but the organization omits much key information from its website, including audits for 2001-2004. Its application to form the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative Inc. and the IRS determination letter for that entity are also omitted.

.

Since the early-2000s, the Clinton Foundation has taken in at least $1 billion in donations to fight AIDS — from groups like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and UNITAID, as well as governments including, Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Sweden and the United Kingdom – Ortel estimates.

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The Clinton Foundation’s tax forms are so opaque and convoluted that there’s no way to know for sure; Ortel bases this number on his review of statements and filings from foundations and governments that have donated to the Clinton’s charity.

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Meanwhile, the Clinton Foundation set up a related non-profit — the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative, Inc. — to take in cash for its anti-AIDS initiatives. It was an Arkansas non-profit corporation based in Massachusetts and Magaziner – a chief healthcare policy advisor under President Clinton – got paid an undisclosed amount of money to run it out of the offices of his private consulting firm. (Incidentally, it was also illegal for Magaziner to run an ostensibly non-profit entity out of his private, for-profit consulting firm.) In addition to the U.S., the Clinton Foundation set up anti-AIDS entities offshore in at least a score of other countries.

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(The Clinton Foundation has reportedly failed to disclose transactions and deals with insiders, which is illegal. One example is that Magaziner started providing consulting services to the Foundation in 2012, but that was not disclosed until 2013, in a revised filing. That revision did not make it retroactively legal.)

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Getting back to the question for money, and to make a long story short, there’s no way of knowing how much the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative Inc. spent to buy HIV/AIDS drugs because its accounting procedures were so inadequate, but it was a whole lot less than what it took in.

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Simply compare what UNITAID donated to the Clinton Foundation between 2006 and 2009 (see last page at this link), and contrast it with the amount that the foundation claims it spent for all anti-AIDS drug purchases and you will discover numbers that that are difficult to reconcile with the law or common sense or simple human decency. To be fairly precise, UNITAID alone reported donations to the Clinton Foundation of about $341.5 million during that period while the Clinton Foundation claims it spent about $215.4 million.

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The fact that that UNITAID apparently donated about $126 million more to the Clinton Foundation for ant-AIDS pharmaceuticals than the Clinton Foundation spent on them is alarming enough. And based on this analysis by Judicial Watch, that understates the magnitude of the problem dramatically.

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When asked for comment, Andrew Hurst, a spokesman for UNITAID said the group was “satisfied” that its disbursements to the Clinton Foundation “have always been fully reconciled and expenditures made in line with grant agreements. Consistent with standard policy, UNITAID commissions independent assessments, audits and programmatic reviews of its grants.”

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When Massachusetts shut down the HIV/AIDS Initiative unit, the Clinton Foundation simply folded its operations into its own and pretended nothing had happened. All of this was flatly illegal, but the IRS, whose tax-exempt wing was led during most of the relevant period by Lois Lerner, did zero. Obama’s Justice Department investigated Lerner on unrelated charges, but never filed charges.

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The general shadiness of the whole Clinton Foundations AIDS initiative may well explain why Sir Elton John turned down without explanation an award for fighting AIDS from Bill Clinton during the recent Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York.

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“Using a charity that exploits victims of AIDS for your personal gain and advancement puts you in the lower circles of hell, but New York and the IRS haven’t done anything to stop them,” Ortel said.

 

25 OBAMA WHOPPERS FOR THE MEDIA

 TO CHEW ON

AMERICAN THINKER

By Jack Cashill

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https://beyondrisk.wordpress.com/2015/11/09/25-obama-whoppers-for-the-media-to-chew-on/November 9, 2015

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Now that the media have shown their eagerness to expose the “lies” of presidential candidate Ben Carson, they might want to review some of the nuggets they overlooked in the rise of Barack Obama. To be sure, there is no going back, but future generations of journalists might benefit from seeing how shamelessly the fourth estate transformed itself into the Democrats’ fifth column.

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  1. “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Oh, man, Obama had his hand on the Bible for this one. May God have mercy on his soul.

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  1. “Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.” This double-barreled promise has been violated more wantonly than a goat at a Taliban bachelor party.

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  1. “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.” This is the Hydra-headed lie that got Obama re-elected and sent us so far down the road to serfdom we may not be able to turn back.

 

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  1. “We revealed to the American people exactly what we understood at the time.” Lying about the original Benghazi lie only compounded the shame.

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  1. “Here’s what happened. You had a video that was released by somebody who lives here, sort of a shadowy character.” If nothing else, lying about the death of four valiant Americans helped rehabilitate Richard Nixon.

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  1. “No more secrecy.” Edward Snowden would seem to have a different take on this.

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  1. “The Fast and Furious program was a field-initiated program begun under the previous administration.” The president told this whopper after spokesman Jay Carney got his knuckles rapped for telling the same lie.

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  1. “Not even a smidgen of corruption.” Obama shocked even O’Reilly with the sheer effrontery of this lie about the IRS scandal.

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  1. “I didn’t set a red line.” Obama said this in regards to Syria after explicitly setting a “red line” and having his staff confirm the same. This double talk had the Norwegians looking up the number of the local repo man.

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  1. “We’ve got shovel-ready projects all across the country.” Nearly three years after saying this, Obama conceded, “Shovel-ready was not as.. uh.. shovel-ready as we expected.” The audience burst out laughing. The unemployment rate at the time stood at 9.1 percent.

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  1. “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman.” The polls proved a more authoritative source than God on this one.

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  1. “We need to close the revolving door that lets lobbyists come into government freely.” Having lobbyists come in the back door made this no less a lie.

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  1. “Under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.”  Believing Obama cost Democratic congressman Bart Stupak his career.

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  1. “My parents shared not only an improbable love. They shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation.” In truth, about the only thing they shared was the Baby Daddy’s sperm — if that.

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  1. “My father left my family when I was two years old.” The “two years” created the illusion of a blessed multicultural union, but the mom hightailed it to Seattle within weeks of the birth.

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  1. “The person I saw yesterday was not the person that I met twenty years ago.” If the media had discovered the “person” in question, Jeremiah Wright, beforebefore Iowa — and how did they miss him? — Hillary Clinton would likely be president.

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  1. “I’ve written two books. I actually wrote them myself.” Obama was that rare literary genius who couldn’t get his nouns and verbs to match.

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  1. “For my mother . . .  to spend the last months of her life in the hospital room arguing with insurance companies . . . there’s something fundamentally wrong about that.” There is something fundamentally worse about lying on a mother’s grave. Al Gore only killed off his sister.

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  1. “This administration has done more for the security of the state of Israel than any previous administration.”  Barbra Streisand may have bought this nonsense, but Benjamin Netanyahu was not even tempted.

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  1. “But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.” Now if Obama could just get those 30,000 dissenting scientists an ObamaCare exemption, maybe he could shut them up.

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  1. “I intend to close Guantanamo, and I will follow through on that.”  Still waiting on this one.

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  1. “Qaddafi threatens a bloodbath that could destabilize an entire region.” This was pure bunkum. The left has been selling “bloodbaths” successfully since the Spanish Civil War.

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  1. “We’ll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN.” No fewer than eight times candidate Obama promised to air health-care negotiations on C-SPAN.  Remember watching them?

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  1. “So don’t tell me I don’t have a claim on Selma, Alabama.” In March 2007, Obama claimed the 1965 events in Selma inspired his parents to get together. He was born in 1961. The media chose not to notice.

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  1. “If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.” Obama made this pledge in September 2007. He broke it in June 2008. He told the Washington Post he still supported the idea of public financing, but the current system was “broken” and favored Republicans who had “become masters at gaming” it. The media yawned.

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